tv The Ed Show MSNBC December 18, 2012 8:00pm-9:00pm PST
back and forth a couple of times, because i was a mama's girl. this one was, today i stopped and found out what a wonderful daughter i have. and i thought i would tell you, my dearest erica, you are and forever will be my sweet baby girl. you possess a piece of my heart and soul, and i will never be complete without you. remember this in your darkest times, you are never alone. your mom. be safe, be well, be happy.
>> good evening, americans, and welcome to "the ed show" from new york. the time for common sense gun safety is right now. the country's focused on it. tonight i'll ask a pro-gun republican lawmaker why there is a holdup. this is "the ed show." let's get to work. >> let's go down the path of banning the assault weapon. i think there is a better chance to do that now than ever. >> the gun debate heats up on capitol hill. the president comes out for an assault weapons ban. and the nra makes their first statement following the newtown massacre. tonight republican congressman jack kingston of georgia is here to define his party's message on assault weapons. and congresswoman carolyn mccarthy reacts to the president's statement. social security is officially on the table in fiscal cliff negotiations. david cay johnston tells me if
there is any way that makes any sense. and senator bernie sanders on how progressives intend to fight. plus, bob shrum and joan walsh on plan b. and a real scare in syria turns into a real happy ending. tonight we'll tell you how nbc's richard engel escaped from his kidnappers. >> i'm very happy that we're here this morning. >> thanks for watching. it may be a rare moment in gun history, but the nation is focused on gun control following the massacre in connecticut. the national rifle association finally broke its silence on the newtown shooting. a statement released today by the organization said, in part, the nra is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again. the language is similar to president obama's call for meaningful action, but contribution from the nra remains to be seen. but several republican
politicians are already headed in the direction of change. michigan governor rick snyder saw republicans in his state legislature pass a bill to allow guns in schools and day care centers. the bill was passed one day before the tragedy in newtown, connecticut. today the republican governor vetoed the bill. according to the detroit news, snyder vetoed the bill because it wouldn't allow schools and other public locations to opt out of its provisions. in the past 24 hours, republican members of congress said that some gun restrictions are worth looking into. senator susan collins of maine, congressman charlie dent of pennsylvania and lindsey graham of south carolina, they are all pro-gun. they are all open to looking at gun control solutions. there is also congressman jack kingston of georgia. in the past, this gentleman has voted to cut down the waiting period, the number of days for gun purchases. he vetoed -- or should i say he voted for broader concealed to carry weapons laws.
the nra gave kingston an "a" rating for his voting record today this staunch advocate opened the door for change. >> we see a huge problem like this, and it's a problem that is happening in other countries as well. we look for something that, okay, what can prevent it? and i think that's where we need to go with this discussion is, yes, put gun control, more gun control on the table. >> on the surface, the comments are very encouraging. but when things get specific, we can understand why this country has so much difficulty arriving at common sense gun safety. >> connecticut has the fifth toughest gun control laws in the country, including an assault weapon ban that bans 35 different weapons. the weapon used was not an assault weapon, therefore it wasn't banned. >> the definition of assault weapons has been gamed by the gun lobby in the service of the gunmakers, no doubt. if the bushmaster rifle with 30 rounds per clip doesn't qualify
as an assault weapon, the term "assault weapon" in my opinion is absolutely meaningless. i wanted to get some answers from congressman kingston. so i had an opportunity to visit with him earlier today. >> congressman, good to have you on "the ed show" tonight. i appreciate your time. >> well, thank you, ed. sad times. >> we're having quite a debate in this country about gun control, obviously. and there is questions of bans coming up in the senate. senator feinstein says she is going to reintroduce the assault weapons ban. as it stands, could you go along with that? >> well, i would have to see what she has in mind. and as you know, the ar-15 that was used in this unfortunate tragedy was not considered an assault weapon. and i don't know if she would put that in there. it only shoots one round at a time, which is the definition of assault weapons. but i think put it on the table to discuss it and thoroughly vet this. i think it's a good process, and i'm not afraid of it.
>> well, that's exactly where i think the country is looking for definition right now on what exactly is an assault weapon. and in the state of connecticut, the definition of assault weapon is that it's got to have a folding or telescoping stock. it's got to have a pistol grip, a bayonet mount, a grenade launcher, and a flash supporter. now, the gun that was used, the .223 bushmaster doesn't have any of those things. >> yes. >> but many americans would consider that to be a assault weapon because they had 30-round clips in there. i mean, where do you draw the line? >> well, i think a lot of the things that you mention are actually cosmetic parts of a gun. they might make it look ugly and mean. but the real question in my mind is can you pull the trigger one time and have multiple rounds fired. because that's what would make an assault weapon. and connecticut does have an assault weapon ban. it has 30 rifles that are considered banned. but this one does not fall under that definition. so in my opinion, rather than
focus on the looks of the gun, we should focus on the action. what does it actually do when you squeeze the trigger. and to me, that's where the gun is more lethal. but, you know, ed, i am a second amendment guy. but i do think having this discussion is a very important part of the process that we must go through as americans. >> well, there is no question about that. and i appreciate that. we need a discussion. but americans would look at what happened in newtown, connecticut, and say that's an assault weapon. i mean, there was rapid-fire that took the lives of 28 -- 26 people -- 28 people. 20 of them children. and that is the main focus on all of this. >> yes. >> so we get into the definition of what is a assault weapon. 30 rounds in a clip in the minds of many americans is too many to have, whether it's a single shot, rapid-fire, or if it's an automatic fire. so how far are you willing to go? are you really willing to go right down to the definition of pulling the trigger as to whether it's an assault weapon
or not, or just how much damage the weapon can do? >> well, you know, they're almost one and the same. it really does get down to the action of the gun, the pulling of the trigger, what happens when you pull the trigger. and it doesn't really matter if it's an ugly-looking, mean, military-type gun or not. it really matters what happens when you pull the trigger. so i think the discussion is a good one. and as you know, i've also said you cannot leave out the mental health situation of this. >> okay. and i agree with that. i agree. we're going get to the mental health part of it in just a minute. but you're satisfied with this gun that was used being legal, that there should be no ban on the bush -- the .223 bushmaster. >> i think, again, it is not an assault weapon. >> by definition it's not. >> and as i understand it, what senator feinstein wants to do is expand the definition to some 900 guns. and i was here during president clinton's assault weapon ban.
and i know there was a huge debate as to what actually was one and what wasn't one. and i think we all got to get educated as to what is an assault weapon and what is it capable of doing. >> that's the key. what is the capability? and if you have firearms that are capable within seconds of putting 30 rounds off, many americans are going to view that as an assault weapon. and so we get down to the definition. not the nra definition, but the definition of what firearms can do. you're comfortable with this firearm, the bushmaster being legal in connecticut. i will take your answer on that. the other thing, mental health -- you have been against obama care. obama care of course would bring 30 million more people into coverage, which of course would cover mental health examinations. and of course, we could set up some kind of database that would help the sharing of information. >> and you can do that -- you can do that, of course, ed, without obama care.
and part of what i think we should do is more local grants so that the police stations and the people as you know in connecticut, you need to register you need to have classes for certain handguns. you have to be under 21 years old -- over 21 years old. so to me, putting on the mental health where you do have some local grants that the law enforcement and the mayors, the political people, if you will in a city can say okay, where are the red flags? and what can we do when we spot the red flags? >> this morning you said on msnbc a 1-800 number. we need more than that. now you'd be saying to put federal grant money to help out mental health so we could have better gun control in this country? >> yes. and that's part of the national institutes of health. that's one of the things they're talking about there is a 1-800 number out there right now. and let me say that should not be the end-all. but i think a piece of it where you have somebody who is acting peculiar and doing something, and you want to find out, okay,
is this, you know, we got to be very sensitive of course to privacy issues and so forth. but i think to get more information, just as you would do on substance abuse and addiction, i think that's a reasonable step. >> congressman jack kingston of georgia with me earlier today. i certainly appreciate him taking the time to speak with us. congressman kingston's willingness to put federal money into mental health initiatives is a very good thing. but we are at an impasse. if the conversation of assault weapons in this country come downs to whether we're pulling the trigger or not 100 times. a federal assault weapons ban can be effective. mass shootings in the last ten years of the 1994 assault weapons ban were way down compared to the eight years since the ban expired. this is why president obama is actively pursuing a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban. democratic congressional members carolyn mccarthy and diana degette want to vote on legislation to ban high capacity magazines before the end of the
year. senator frank lautenberg of new jersey has a similar bill in the senate. house democratic leader nancy pelosi says congress can take action on high capacity clips right now. >> right away we could pass, right away today, this week we could pass the ban on the assault magazine. >> this issue is not taking away the second amendment rights. no question about it. it's about responsible access and ownership of firearms. but the bigger issue is the capacity of these firearms. and that's where the debate and the conversation has to be. can we let the gun lobby tell us what a semiautomatic and an automatic rifle actually is when within seconds 30 rounds can go out and take multiple lives? is that what we want out there? it's time for common sense to win out. get your cell phones out. i want to know what you think. do you consider the bushmaster .223 an assault weapon? text a for yes and b for now. you can always go to our blog.
we'll bring you the results later on in the show. i want to bring in robert menendez of new jersey. this senator is calling for congress to ban high capacity clips. senator, good to have you with us tonight. >> good to be with you, ed. >> do you think that assault weapons ban would pass the congress, given the mood of the country and in the wake of the massacre in newtown? >> well, if it can't now, i don't know when it ever can. look, you know, the bushmaster to me is an assault weapon. if it can fire like an assault weapon, if it can be used like an assault weapon, if it can multiple people quickly, then it's an assault weapon. that's why i voted for the assault weapons ban when i was in the house of representatives. that's why i support it now. and i simply don't know how many more lives have to be lost for us to get to action right away. >> senator, what is your definition of an assault weapon? >> well, for me, obviously, it's common sense.
you know, if you have a high capacity clip, 30 rounds, or even more, that's not about hunting. that's about killing the maximum number of people you can at a given clip. that's why we call it an assault weapon, because you can use it multiple times against an individual or a group of individuals. so the bottom line is to me, the high capacity clip, the ability to shoot off quickly, that number of rounds with the high capacity clip clearly makes it in my mind an assault weapon. >> well, do you think republicans will go along with banning these clips? >> well, i hope so. look, no responsible hunter needs 30 clips, or even some of these clips that have up to 100 clips, like i think the colorado shooter had. no hunter needs 30 clips to hunt down a deer. my god, by the time they'd be finished shooting that deer, they wouldn't be worthy of bringing it back to the kitchen table. the reality is you simply don't need that. and that's really just about
being able to shoot off as many people as you can. that is not about hunting. so i believe that a high capacity clip, you know, prohibition should be one of the main things on the table. and should be able to pass. >> senator, what about access to mental health care through more funding? i mean, will congress agree to mental health funding in a way congressman kingston described? what do you think? >> this is where a lot of my friends on the other side of this question will try to head on the mental health funding. and of course we welcome them to that. but i listened to your interview before. unfortunately, one of the first things that the house republicans did in hr-1 is cut $26 million in community health bloc grants. that's exactly the type of work you want to see happening in our communities. that's why i voted for the mental health parity act, to create mental health parity with all the other types of insurance we have. and that's why the affordable care act expands that and makes
it responsible for in the exchange, in the health care exchange that are going to offer insurance to include mental health as a core element of that coverage. that's what we need in this country. >> and finally, senator, the nra. what role do they play when it comes time to this debate? do you think that they can offer something? they have never been in favor of any kind of regulations. >> well, you know, the nra i think is out of step with their members. you see nra-registered members, 74% i think say they are in support of criminal background checks nationally. they represent, in my mind, the gun manufacturers. >> sure. >> and the gun shows. and the dealers. but they don't really represent the average rank and file. it seems to me, i hope they'll join us. but it seems to me that the teachers and, you know, school principal were willing to take on the gunman. it seems to me the congress of the united states should take on these guns as well.
congressman menendez, great to have you with us. share your thoughts on twitter at #theedshow. security, and they expect it to be there when they retire. tonight social security is on the negotiating table. we'll have the latest on the fiscal cliff when we come back. stay with us. hey, look! a shooting star! make a wish! i wish we could lie here forever. i wish this test drive was over, so we could head back to the dealership. [ male announcer ] it's practically yours. test drive! but we still need your signature. volkswagen sign then drive is back. and it's never been easier to get a jetta. that's the power of german engineering. get $0 down,
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coming up, social security on the table? the real calls the way president obama's changes are calculated. and senator bernie sanders will talk about fairness. and later, speaker john boehner's plan b. leader pelosi calls it befuddled. joan walsh and bob shrum are here tonight. share your thoughts on facebook and on twitter using the #theedshow. we're coming right back. [ male announcer ] when it comes to the financial obstacles military families face, we understand. at usaa, we know military life is different. we've been there.
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tonight on the fiscal cliff talks. today social security got sucked into the negotiations. here is the latest offer from the white house. the president of the united states campaigned on letting taxes go up on anyone making $250,000 a year. now he is offering to almost double it to $400,000 a year. democrats are also offering $8 billion in cuts. they want to raise the debt ceiling for the next two years. and now the white house is offering cost-of-living adjustments on social security. these are not your average cost-of-living adjustments. the white house says we can recalculate how much money people get as they age. the technical changes could save some money, but it could cost seniors dearly. this is what the poverty rate for seniors would look like without social security. almost half the seniors would fall below the poverty line. now look at this. social security dramatically reduces poverty among seniors. cutting social security would be cruel. the white house is defending the
proposal. >> the president has always said as a part of this process when we're talking about the spending cuts side of this that it would require tough choices by both sides. and that is certainly the case if you want to reach an agreement. secondly, this is a technical adjustment that supporters of it and economists, outside economists say it is meant to make the government's estimates of inflation more accurate. >> we could save money and bring down the debt by adjusting social security benefits. but many analysts don't trust the republicans to take care of seniors in the process. joining me tonight, pulitzer prize winning journalist and author of "the fine print: how big companies use plain english to rob you blind," david cay johnston. technical adjustment. what does that mean? in the interest of fairness, is there any scenario in which chained cpi does not hurt seniors? >> no.
chained cpi is a good measure for the whole economy, but not for seniors who have rising health care costs. and looking at average health care costs doesn't work for older people because they're big consumers of health care. >> who is going to get hurt? i mean, if the -- if we cut social security this way? if this is done the way the white house is proposing it, who is going to get hurt? >> well, if you're 45 years old today, or 35 years old today, when you're 85, you will really feel this pain. the change over time will be significant. and the idea of chained cpi is that you'll institute things. so you may be eating hamburger today. you'll be eating chicken later because of chained cpi. and you may end up on cat food your last days. >> could it be that bad? is this a drastic move by the white house to propose this? >> it's a tiny move in terms of the economy.
in the year 2050, the cbo estimates that we're talking about 2/10 of 1% of the entire economy. that's how much we would reduce spending on social security. 2/10 of 1%. that's today about $30 billion. but we would be talking about an enormous amount of money in the monthly incomes of seniors who are not as a class living it up, as the charts you just put up show. >> as you see it, in the next, say, ten years, would this affect benefits to americans? >> well, it affects -- it would affect them right away. but it's a little bit. basically, chained cpi is if inflation is running 3%, it would be about 2.7%. so instead of getting a raise on a thousand dollars social security check of $30, you would get $27. but this would continue year after year after year, slowly eroding your benefits. and if you live 20 years, we're now talking 6 percentage points.
>> what kind of money are we talking about saving? >> well, the average social security check right now is $1229. so i calculate that if we go to the cpi system, chained cpi, in 20 years, you would get $126 a month less than you would under the current system. that doesn't sound like a lot of money. $1500 a year. but if you're making less than $30,000 a year, that's a big cut. it's a 5.7% cut. i think, ed, we should go the other direction there is another measure of inflation called cpie, for elderly. and when you do that, 3% inflation raise the elderly's check by about 3.3%. after 20 years, they would be getting $133 a month more than under the current system. and the swing between what the petersons want, to take money away from old people, and what i'm proposing is about $259 a month. that's over $3,000 a year. >> that's real money to people, no doubt. david cay johnston, thanks for
your time tonight in clarifying all of this. progressives aren't happy with the key part of president obama's counteroffer on the fiscal cliff. bernie sanders will join me on that. he says it's real money to folks. then house speaker john boehner decides to go with plan b in the fiscal cliff talks. what is that all about? we'll explain boehner's latest political tactic, find out what it could cost you in taxes when we come back. stay with us. new prilosec otc wildberry is the same frequent heartburn treatment as prilosec otc. now with a fancy coating that gives you a burst of wildberry flavor. now why make a flavored heartburn pill?
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of living increases are calculated. the congressional progressive caucus opposes it, as do other progressive groups. today senator dick durbin said "we ought to deal with social security in a separate conversation. this is not part of deficit reduction. to do it at this stage is the wrong way to go." that counters certainly what we're seeing coming out of the white house. let's turn to senator bernie sanders tonight from vermont. senator, good to have you with us. does this come out of right field, so to speak? is this the wrong way to go on social security? >> well, it certainly is the wrong way to go on social security. as durbin just pointed out, social security has a huge surplus. it has nothing to do with deficit reduction. we have ways to make sure that it's solvent for the next 75 years. you do not have to cut benefits
for seniors and for disabled veterans. ed, what is not widely pointed out, and tomorrow i'll be holding a press conference with all of the veterans organizations, the dav, the american legion, the chained cpi would make major cuts for people who have lost their arms and legs in iraq and afghanistan, widows, and orphans. furthermore, what i would say if you saw the poll today in the "washington post," the people of this country are very clear. overwhelmingly say they do not cut social security. do not cut medicare. do not cut medicaid. and yes, to the tune of 74% of the people responding in that poll, ask people making more than $250,000 a year to pay more in taxes. the president has got to listen to the american people and stand firm against the bullies in the republican house. >> here is house democratic leader nancy pelosi today. listen to this. >> yes, the democrats will stick with the president. maybe not every single one of
them. but on the cpi, since you bring it up, the chained cpi, the president -- the details of this are not all ironed out. but they all mitigate for helping the poorest and neediest in our society, whether they're ssi recipients, whether they're 80 and older, or whether they're truly needy in between. >> senator, she says other factors mitigate the impact of the cpi change, and she would have the votes. any circumstances under which that you could support it? >> no. i have a lot of respect for nancy pelosi. i think she is dead wrong on this issue. listen, the aarp, the national committee to preserve medicare, the afl-cio, the veterans organizations, the vast majority of the american people are saying you do not balance the budget on the elderly, people who are making 15, $16,000 a year, who are struggling to keep themselves alive should not be taking cuts when we have growing wealth and income inequality in america. yes, the wealthiest people and the large corporations who are doing phenomenally well are going to have to start paying their fair share of taxes.
>> president obama's plan would bring in $1.2 trillion in revenue and extend unemployment benefits, which is pretty important. are these and other aspects of the president's counteroffer agreeable with you? certainly the unemployed are going to need some help. and we still have millions of people who are out of work in this country. what about that? there are some good things to this, but is it worth the gamble? >> obviously we want to do everything we can to protect the unemployed. but what we also have to understand, ed, and also what is not talked about enough is a result of i think the weak negotiating on the part of the white house in 2010 and 2011. we have already cut $1.5 trillion in programs. and up to this point, the wealthy haven't paid a nickel more in taxes. so i don't think it's a question of, you know, a little here and a little there. people on top doing phenomenally well. middle class disappearing. millions of people living in poverty.
i think the president will have the support of the american people if he stands tall, if he stands strong and demands justice and fairness in terms of how we do deficit reduction. >> what about boehner's plan to pass an extension of the bush tax cuts for everyone below the $1 million mark. >> no. >> is that something you could possibly support? of course, the president wants to move to it $400,000. >> no. that's wrong. it simply does not bring in enough revenue. and it would necessitate even more cuts. >> $250,000 is the number for you? you want the bush tax cuts gone? >> absolutely. >> okay. senator, good to have you with us tonight. i appreciate your time there is a lot more coming up in the next half hour of the "ed show." stay with us. >> at the same time we're going to continue to talk with the president, we're going to also move to plan b. >> boehner buckles on the rates and floats plan b. bob shrum and salon's joan walsh will break down the sideshow. congresswoman carol mccarthy said she would embarrass the president to get common sense
gun laws. tonight i'll ask her if she is happy with the endorsement of the assault weapons ban. and nbc's richard engel is safe and sound after being kidnapped in syria. >> it is good to be here. >> we've got the harrowing details next. ♪ i'd like to thank eating right, whole grain, multigrain cheerios! mom, are those my jeans? [ female announcer ] people who choose more whole grain tend to weigh less than those who don't. multigrain cheerios
prego?! but i've bought ragu for years. [ thinking ] wonder what other questionable choices i've made? i choose date number 2! whooo! [ sigh of relief ] [ male announcer ] choose taste. choose prego. welcome back to "the ed show." house speaker john boehner doesn't like the way the fiscal cliff negotiations are going, so today he announced he is activating what he is calling plan "b." as early as thursday, boehner plans to offer two amendments. one would extend the bush-era tax cuts for people who make up to $250,000 a year. the other would extend the tax cuts for everyone who makes up to $1 million a year. >> plan b would protect american taxpayers who make a million dollars or less and have all of their current rates extended. >> boehner is basically offering to end the fiscal cliff talks for the holidays. he would take up the spending
cuts and debt ceiling debate next year. joining me tonight editor at large for salon, joan walsh. and democratic strategist bob shrum with us tonight. great to have both of you with us. >> thanks, ed. >> joan, what is boehner trying to prove here with this strategy? that he is so concerned with small business? what is happening here. >> exactly. i mean, look. he knows plan b is doa, ed. it doesn't do anything. it doesn't solve any problems. you know, it protects people who make between 250 and 1 million who are still quite wealthy. it doesn't make a dent in the deficit. and it also doesn't solve any of the sequestration problems. so, you know, i'm not a big fan of some of the issues, some of the concessions that i hear might be on the table. i'm withholding judgment until i hear everything that may be on the table, ed. but, you know, there is an argument for a deal. if you can get some unemployment insurance, if you get some infrastructure funding, and if you can get the debt court of
appealing to good away for a long time, those sorts of things are worth talking about. this takes all the leverage away from democrats, if democrats were to support it. they know democrats won't support it. and you know what? john boehner is also boasting that he thinks he's got the votes. he said that -- the republican votes. he said that before, and poor nancy pelosi has to go out and whip democrats. she will not do that this time. even if it passes the house, it will lose in the senate. and they're just doing this to cover their behinds. >> bob, it seems to me that speaker boehner wants to go to president obama and say see that? you can't raise taxes at any level on the country. what do you make of that? >> well, he is just flatly wrong. plan b is bs. it's never going to pass. joan is right. it's a wonderful republican idea. let's protect the people who make say, $998,000 a year. the first reality is by every poll, if we go off the fiscal cliff, they're going to be blamed. the second is the top rate tax rates are going up, whether it's
$250,000 or $400,000. maybe people in the republican caucus don't get that. maybe we have to have a communication, earth to the republican caucus. but it's going to happen. it's either going to happen before or after we go off the fiscal cliff. >> so why -- bob, why is boehner just ignoring the rest of the president's offer here? >> because boehner isn't so much worried about the fiscal cliff right now as he is worried about his speakership being on the cliff. he's got a very restive caucus. they don't understand that they lost the election. i agree with joan, by the way. the president, even though he won the election, isn't going to win every point here in this negotiation. but republicans seem to think they can have it mostly their way. they made one concession, which is higher tax rates for some rich people. now they want it to be for a very small number of rich people, won't raise the revenue that is needed. so i don't think they have any chance here. but maybe what this whole thing is about is letting these republicans get up and vent, and then he can go back to the bargaining table. >> sure.
>> but i'll tell you one thing. he has to be a little careful, because that bill that extends the tax cuts for everybody up to $250,000, i think the democrats might vote for that. and then if a number of republicans say wait a minute, i'm not going to vote to let taxes go up on people under $250,000, it might pass. the senate i think would then pass that, and the president would probably sign it. >> i'm not quite sure, joan, how john boehner is going the change public opinion with this posturing, these two votes. >> well, he is not. but we should acknowledge that it is at least some recognition that tax hikes on the rich at some level are extremely popular with the american people, ed. so that's a little bit of a victory. i think there was a quote today after a meeting on this from senator jeff flake. and he came out and said this will show that we're not in the pocket of the top 2%, which in fact it protects a whole lot of the top 2% here. let's just say that but it's showing that they are afraid of being known as the absolute lap dogs of the super rich, and they are trying to win some sort of pr victory so that they can go out and say we voted for some
tax hikes. it will be interesting to see what kind of revolt there will be, though, from their tea party caucus and the people who said no tax hikes for any reason. >> they want to go home for the holidays and tell their constituents we voted for tax cuts. that's where it is. >> right. >> that's where i think it is. joan walsh, bob shrum, great to have you with us tonight. coming up, nbc's richard engel is safe after five days of captivity in syria. we'll have the details. stay with us. [ female announcer ] caroline penry began using olay total effects in 2001. and one wedding, 2 kids, 43 bottles of olay total effects and many birthdays later, still looks amazing. thanks to the trusted performance of olay. share "not even close."
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i always love to hear from our viewers on twitter and our facebook page. many of you are responding to the president's offer to change the way social security cost of living increases are calculated. sweitzer tweets most of the social security recipients are barely making it. all this to help the rich, question mark? he points out that even president reagan understood social security did not affect the deficit. and asked why is obama capitulating? and rickie tweets, hands off social security. democrats, get a backbone. thanks for sharing your thoughts with us on facebook and on twitter using the #theedshow. richard engel's incredible ordeal, next. we're coming right back.
and we here at msnbc are relieved and happy to report that nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engel and his crew were freed late last night after five days in captivity in syria. engel described the ordeal on the "today" show this morning. >> we were driving in syria, about five days ago, in what we thought was a rebel-controlled area. we were with some of the rebels. and as we were moving down the road, a group of gunmen just literally jumped out of the trees and bushes on the side of the road. there were probably 15 gunmen. they were wearing ski masks.
they were heavily armed. they dragged us out of the car. they had a container truck positioned, waiting by the side of the road. they put us into that container truck. we were with some gunmen, some rebels who were escorting us. they executed one of them on the spot. then they took us to a series of safe houses and interrogation places. we weren't physically beaten or tortured. it was a lot of psychological torture, threats of being killed. >> while nbc could not confirm the identities of the kidnapper, engel noted that they talked openly about their loyalties to the government and to syrian president bashar al assad. the crew was freed after five days when the captors drove them into a checkpoint manned by a syrian rebel group. >> the kidnappers saw this checkpoint, started a gunfight with it. two of the kidnappers were killed. we climbed out of the vehicle and the rebels took us.
>> the crew then crossed the border into turkey this morning. all of us here at "the ed show" are glad richard and his crew are safe and sound. tonight in our survey, i asked do you consider the bushmaster .223 an assault weapon? 87% of you say yes. 13% of you say no. coming up, a major investment firm says that it will sell its stake in the company that makes the rifle used to kill 26 people at sandy hook elementary. congresswoman carolyn mccarthy will weigh in on that and much more. stay tuned. you're watching "the ed show" on msnbc. [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus presents the cold truth.
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seems not all red jars are created equal. olay regenerist. if we in this country as americans cannot get the people who represent us to do something about firearms, we are a sad, sad society. >> syracuse basketball coach jimmy boeheim, marking his 900th win by speaking out about gun control. the coach added, if one person in this world, the nra president, anybody can tell me why we need assault weapons with 30 shots in the thing, this is our fault. today the white house spokesperson jay carney said president supports an assault weapons ban renewal. and now we're starting to see a shift in thinking. and it's happening in, of all places, corporate america. the investment firm cerberus capital management will sell its stake in the country's largest gunmaker after one of the company's guns, the bushmaster semiautomatic rifle was used to kill 26 people at sandy hook elementary.
as "the new york times" reports, cerberus said that it was putting the company freedom group up for sell just hours after one of its largest investors, the california teachers pension fund said it was reviewing its relationship with the firm. the investment firm issuing this statement. it is apparent that the sandy hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level. cerberus also says that as a firm, "we are investors, not statesmen or policymakers." but as the daily beast points out, cerberus's small leadership team includes statesmen and former policymakers like dan quayle, and john snow, former treasury secretary. the firm is owned by billionaire financier steven a. feinberg. feinberg is reportedly an avid hunter and sportsman, a major republican donor. and his father happens to live in newtown, connecticut. martin feinberg declined to comment on his son's firm's sell, but told bloomberg news the shooting was devastating and truly horrendous. joining me tonight congresswoman carolyn mccarthy of new york.
congresswoman, thank you for your time tonight. >> thank you. >> this is really an unprecedented move. what do you make of this, this firm making a move like this, and of course being, in a sense, pressured by the teachers pension fund in california? >> well, i can certainly understand it, because some statements have come out saying that teachers should be armed. talking to certainly an awful lot of the teachers in the last two days. that's the last thing that they want to do. so i can understand that. and you're looking at a lot of these pension funds that are being invested in this company. and they don't want any part of this. so i'm very happy, because, you
know, we have investment funds that only do social issues. and i'm glad to see them doing that. maybe that sends even a stronger message to the national rifle association that their grip is loosing. work with us. let's get an assault weapons bill passed let's make sure we can make this country faster. >> do you think they're losing their grip? >> i do. i actually do. talking to a number of my republican friends, i asked them. i said, you know, we're reading about this press conference on friday. and they're going to come out with something positive. now, i don't know what that means. but with that being said, i would love them to see them working with us. we're not taking away the rights of anybody to own a gun. but even they hopefully will see that assault weapons and the large magazines, they are not meant for the average citizen. and they are not. >> do you think we'll see more move in commerce because of this?
>> i do. i actually do. you know, there has been a shift. you've seen this. you've been talking about it. you talked about it last night. and i have to say that even from, again, talking to some nra members, they have said, you know, listen. i'm a hunter. and i'm more than willing to give up my assault weapons. i've never used it for hunting. i don't even use it for the security of my home. i like it for target shooting at the range and things like that. he said but enough is enough. we cannot take this slaughter anymore. >> congresswoman, you warned the white house the gloves are off if the president fails to act on gun control. today jay carney said the president supports an assault weapons ban. are you confident that the president is ready to act? are we at that point? >> well, you know, number one, i was very thrilled, to be honest with you, to see him come out not only on the assault weapons
ban, on one of the things he is planning on doing. closing the gun show loophole, making sure the background checks are going to be able to be there for everybody that would have to go through a background check before they could buy a gun. those are all my bills that have actually been introduced here in congress for many years. i also know he is going to be working on the educational side and the health side as far as mental illness. >> well, what about that? we've had quite a discussion about mental health assets and resources going to this. that is a monumental lift. that's a huge lift, and it's going to take a ton of money. you think republicans will go along with that? >> well, ed, to be very honest with you, the reason it's going to take a ton of money is because last year and the year before the amount of cuts that have already done, and a lot of people don't realize this in the united states, we made large cuts last year. >> yeah. >> we made large cuts the year before. that's shutting down my mental health clinics in my community. >> yeah. >> it's shutting down the after-school programs where we
work with these children that need a little bit of extra help. so when you say you're going to cut, you got to be very careful on what will be the end effect. i think when we look at it, it's got to be a whole comprehensive package. i'm a nurse. i look at things holistically. we got to do things above to make this country safer. >> congressman kingston said he doesn't consider the gun used in the newtown shooting an assault weapon. your response to that. >> listen, you know, we can take these shootings any way you want to. and i don't particularly care what kind of gun that they used. but to be very honest with you, the large assault clips are the ones that do the most killing. he had 30 rounds in each of the guns that he had. two rounds went off. he shot over 100 bullets. and i think that's probably what